Toaster Sweater – Version 2 in French terry and jersey knit

I finally got around to making Toaster Sweater – Version 2 by Sew House Seven. Last year I made Version 1, which has raglan sleeves and a turtleneck. (You can get the pattern here.) I don’t know why it took me so long to get around to sewing Version 2, which Sew House Seven says “features a semi-high-neck that takes its inspiration from funnel and boat necks.” I love boatnecks so this neckline was very appealing to me.

I made my first Version 2 Toaster with some black french terry that I bought on sale at Fabric Outlet last fall. I consider it part of the #makeyourstash sewing challenge that I decided to participate in earlier this year. The #makeyourstash challenge is to use fabric that’s been in your collection for at least six months.

I made my black Toaster Sweater – Version 2 in April, the night before I was to fly to the East Coast to visit family and attend the first annual Meetup Togetherfest. It didn’t take very long to sew. There are just three pattern pieces – front, back and sleeve. The neck has a self-facing – you fold it over and to keep it in place, you stitch in the ditch at the shoulder seams.

Toaster Sweater - Version 2 - Sew House Seven sewing pattern - french terry, 3/4 sleeves - CSews.com

I decided to cut size XL for a loose fit. I made size L when I made Version 1. I have broad shoulders and wanted extra ease in the hips. The only change I made to the pattern was to shorten the sleeves to 3/4 length, a nice length for Bay Area weather.

Here’s how I shortened the sleeve. I sliced it at the shorten/lengthen line and overlapped 8 inches (~20cm) of the pattern and folded the pattern to true the seams, and pinned the excess in place as you can see in the photo below. I used Swedish tracing paper that I got for my birthday to trace the pattern.

Toaster Sweater 2 - Sew House Seven sewing pattern - sleeve shortened

Note: I have long arms so if I shorted it by 8 inches to get a 3/4 length sleeve, then the sleeves on this pattern are unusually long. If you sew this pattern, measure the sleeve length and compare it to your arm measurement. You will likely need to shorten the sleeve.

The neckline is like a small boatneck or maybe you could call it a high boatneck?

Toaster Sweater - Version 2 - Sew House Seven sewing pattern - french terry, 3/4 sleeves - CSews.com

Here’s a back view of the Toaster Sweater – Version 2. I used the zig-zag stitch on my sewing machine to sew this together. I decided not to use the serger because I didn’t want to fiddle with the tension and differential feed. Plus I had to finish packing for my trip.

Toaster Sweater - Version 2 - Sew House Seven sewing pattern - french terry, 3/4 sleeves - CSews.com

Here’s a closer look at the front. You can (sort of) see that the shoulder seams go a little beyond my shoulder point. I knew it would be a little wide but I liked this relaxed look. French terry is so soft. This is so comfy to wear.

Toaster Sweater - Version 2 - Sew House Seven sewing pattern - french terry, 3/4 sleeves - CSews.com

About a month after I made this version I decided to make another Toaster Sweater – Version 2. I had some medium-weight black cotton jersey fabric in my stash but only enough for the body, not the sleeves. So I looked in my stash for another knit and found this lightweight blue rayon fabric, which has a nice drape. Another score for #makeyourstash! I think I got the blue fabric on sale at Fabric Outlet.

Toaster Sweater - Version 2 - Sew House Seven sewing pattern - 3/4 sleeves - CSews.com

For this version, I read the instructions and used what the pattern calls a “double stitch” for the seams – a zig-zag stitch and a straight stitch. I did that for this version. Then I finished the hems using a double needle, which you can’t really see in this photo. The trickiest part of sewing this Toaster Sweater was using the double needle at the corners because you can’t pivot your needle.

Toaster Sweater - Version 2 - Sew House Seven sewing pattern - 3/4 sleeves - CSews.com

Sewing the sleeves was a little tricky because the rayon knit was lightweight. I had to use a ton of pins on the sleeve head. The black cotton knit was more stable. When I attached the sleeves to the body, I put the black knit on the bottom and had set the presser foot pressure to zero. I didn’t need to use a walking foot – having the heavier weight fabric on the bottom worked well and it sewed nicely.

The back hem of this Toaster Sweater – Version 2 is an inch longer than the front, which is a nice detail.

Toaster Sweater - Version 2 - Sew House Seven sewing pattern - 3/4 sleeves - CSews.com

Here’s a back view where you can also see a bit of the high-low hem.

Toaster Sweater - Version 2 - Sew House Seven sewing pattern - 3/4 sleeves - CSews.com

I’m wearing a skirt I hand sewed earlier this year. The skirt pattern is from the book Alabama Studio Sewing + Design by Natalie Chanin (affiliate link here).

I got the skirt fabric at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics, which has a great selection of knits. I originally bought the fabric to make some active wear but decided to make a skirt instead. I think the fabric colors work well together. The blue is the same intensity as this rust red.

I like this pattern so much I cut yet another Toaster Sweater, VErsion 2 with leftover ponte fabric from my fourth Pilvi Coat. I had about one full yard of that bold fabric, which I used to cut the front and back and making it tunic-length. Then I had big scraps that I could use for the sleeves. Stay tuned for my third Toaster Sweater!

Sewing Tip: If you want to experiment and use a lightweight knit fabric, you may want to put a strip of interfacing at the shoulders to give it a little extra reinforcement to prevent it from stretching out. It’s not needed for medium-weight fabrics.

I will be looking through my stash for more knit fabrics and making more Toaster Sweaters – Version 2. Do you have a favorite pattern that you’ve made multiple times? For me, it’s been the Pilvi Coat and now it looks like the Toaster Sweater will be a staple top for me.

How to sew sweater knit fabric – finally an online course

Hi, a couple of years ago I bought this natural white cotton sweater knit fabric and matching ribbing from O! Jolly!, an online shop selling sweater knits designed by Olgalyn Jolly. It has been sitting in my stash, mostly because I couldn’t decide what pattern to use and I didn’t have any experience sewing sweater knit fabric. But now I no longer have any excuses because Olgalyn just launched an online course How to Cut and Sew a Sweater Knit (affiliate link)!

O! Jolly! New Hudson sweater knit fabric

The course videos cover everything from choosing a sweater knit fabric to how to finish your seam allowances. You don’t need a serger. You can use the zig zag stitch on your sewing machine.

Cutting and sewing sweater knit fabric

One of her lessons discusses sewing machine sample settings (width and length) and serger sample settings (differential feed ratio, stitch length and cutting width), including a downloadable file with the sample settings.

Marking the hem of a sweater knit fabric

How to Cut and Sew a Sweater Knit also includes many helpful worksheets, resources (where to buy sweater knit fabric (and what knit fabric to avoid), a list of suggested sewing patterns, etc.) and tips you can download.

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I don’t usually promote anything. I’ve been asked to write about products but I usually say “No, thanks,” because they aren’t the right fit for my blog. I wouldn’t write about something I didn’t believe in. [Full disclosure: If you purchase her course using the links in this post, I will get a percentage of the sale.]

Last week when I was in New York, I had lunch with Olgalyn and Angie, a former Bay Area Sewist who moved to the Big Apple. Olgalyn told me about the course and asked if I would be interested in being an affiliate, and I immediately said “Yes.”

Olgalyn Jolly wearing a Saint Cloud sweater knit
Olgalyn Jolly in a sweater knit she sewed

It was an easy decision because I love her fabrics and I know she’s an expert in sewing sweater knit fabric. I also interviewed Olgalyn on my blog in 2016. She also teaches machine knitting at FIT. I’ve seen many of her beautiful creations on her blog Crafting Fashion and her Instagram feed (@ojolly).

Double knit jacquard sweater by Olgalyn Jolly

I’ve been watching the videos of her online course and learning so much. Olgalyn is an excellent teacher and it’s a pleasure to hear her voice as she explains how to cut and sew a sweater knit. Her course is aimed at the “sewing enthusiast with intermediate skills or for the motivated beginner.”

How to Cut and Sew a Sweater Knit is 20 percent off until May 1 (regular price $59, discounted price, $47.20)! It’s worth it at either price. She took a lot of care in creating it. By the end of the course, you can be confident that you’ll know how to sew sweater knit fabric with confidence!

Beautiful sweater knit fabric sewn into a lovely long-sleeved sweater - Olgalyn Jolly

Sewing inspiration – sewjo, Pinterest and more

Where do you get your sewing inspiration? My sewjo disappeared in March because I sprained my right ankle at the end of February. It was very sore for most of March so I didn’t go near my sewing machine.

I also took a break from my own social media accounts and hardly posted anything on Instagram or Pinterest, which also contributed to my lack of sewing inspiration.

So today I looked at some of my Pinterest boards (@csews). I have one named “Sewing Inspiration,” where I post everything from couture fashion to RTW. Then I started to feel some inspiration. It’s amazing what you can do with fabric, isn’t it?

Here are a few screen shots from my Sewing Inspiration board. I love that Yoji Yamamoto jacket in the center and the Issey Miyake skirt on the right.

Sewing inspiration - Pinterest - CSews.com

The slouchy pants below are cool and the full skirt of that pale dress is so dramatic! I really wouldn’t wear a dress like that but you have to marvel at the construction.

Sewing Inspiration - Pinterest board - CSews.com

I also have a board titled “Casual Style for Women,” where I post everything from tops and pants to skirts and coats. Here are a few screenshots from that board.

Sewing inspiration - @csews Pinterest board - Casual Style for Women

I just realized that I tend to post garments in solid colors on that board – or color-blocked clothes. I wear a lot of solids but I like prints, too!

Sewing inspiration - @csews Pinterest board - Casual Style for Women

Oh, and in case you’re wondering how I sprained my ankle – I was going down the stairs in a rush and when I got to the last step, somehow I missed a step and my ankle just turned over and I fell. I skinned my right knee too.

This week was the first week my ankle didn’t feel really stiff in the morning. So I’m finally feeling like it is recovering. So hopefully this weekend I will get some sewing done. I owe my older sister a birthday present. I was going to make her something for her birthday in early March but the ankle was too sore.

Plus I want to get back to my 2018 Make Nine list. I am actually making progress on this list, as I mentioned in my update on my progress. I hope to make a dent in my stash and make some more skirts and tops. Here’s to getting my sewjo back!

What do you do when your sewjo disappears?

2018 RTW fast and Make Your Stash sewing challenge

2018 RTW Fast and Sew Your Stash sewing challenge

I’m fasting this year – not food but RTW clothes and fabric. I’m participating in Goodbye Valentino’s 2018 RTW Fast and I also decided to focus on shopping my stash first before buying any fabric. So far, I haven’t purchased any fabric in 2018. I’m not sure how long that fast will last but I’m also participating in the Make Your Stash challenge hosted by Time to Sew and PilarBear – which will also be inspiration to sew my stash.

2018 RTW Fast

For the RTW Fast, you commit to not buying ready-to-wear clothes for a year, which I signed on to do at the end of December.

The only things you are allowed to purchase during the RTW fast are underwear, socks, stockings, shoes, jewelry, handbags and belts. There’s an exception for wedding gowns but that’s it. You can see some of the fasters on Goodbye Valentino’s January post, “Meet the Fasters.” There are more than 1,000 participants!

2018 RTW Fast

Follow the hashtag #2018rtwfast on Instagram to see what people are making. There’s a private Facebook group for participants (sign-up closed on Jan. 1) and various sewing-related prizes are given out every month.

Make Your Stash

The hosts of Make Your Stash call it a “sustainable sewing challenge.” The idea is to use fabric that has been in your stash for more than six months to make at least one wearable garment and post the finished version on Instagram (#makeyourstash) anytime between March and May – emphasis on wearable.

As Kate of Time to Sew notes, “We do not encourage making something that you won’t wear just to use something up – that is not the point.”

Make Your Stash - a sustainable sewing challenge

They want people to take their time and make something that you will like. They are also offering prizes – PDF patterns for each month of the challenge. But I don’t care about the prizes. I just want to find more time to sew my fabric and make some progress on sewing my stash.

Sewing Not Buying

I also decided to give myself the additional challenge of not buying any new fabric during Make Your Stash  – or at least not buy anything until I’ve made that one garment for #makeyourstash. 😉

I had already been shopping my stash when I put together my 2018 Make Nine list. So far this year I have not purchased any fabric. Really. But it’s a practical decision… I don’t have room for more fabric. Heheh.

I’ve got fabric in four plastic bins of varying sizes in the bedroom; fabric in the bedroom closet and fabric in a few drawers of a rolling cart in the dining area. According to my husband, “Fabric is everywhere!” I think that’s an exaggeration but I am trying to see if my fabric-buying fast will last at least six months. Wish me luck!

My next big project will be going through my closets and getting rid of old RTW clothes, hopefully donating them to an upcycle group that can remake them into something else. Or maybe I can make them into something else for someone else. (Note: Donating clothes to Goodwill is not necessarily a good thing. Read this HuffPo article on what happens to your donated clothes.)

Do you care how big your stash is? Are you trying to sew more of your fabric and buy less? What do you do with the clothes that no longer fit or are out of style? Do you upcycle? Repurpose? Donate? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Make Nine 2018 – an update on my sewing projects

Hi, I thought I’d update you on my Make Nine 2018 progress. I picked various patterns and fabrics, which I wrote about  here in early February. So far I’ve actually made three things from my Make Nine list plus a skirt for Bay Area Sewists Frocktails! Four garments in less than two months! That’s gotta be a record for me.

I think around this time last year I’d made only two things – a skirt for Bay Area Sewists Frocktails in February 2017 and a reversibleToaster Sweater.

Here’s what I made in January:

• A hand-sewn midi skirt from the book Alabama Studio Sewing + Design (Amazon affiliate link here). I used a maroon (rust red?) knit fabric in my stash. I’ve worn it a couple of times but I haven’t taken any photos of it yet.

• My fourth Pilvi Coat from the book Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style, a birthday present from one of my sisters in 2016 (Amazon affiliate link here).

Pilvi Coat in ponte knit - pattern from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style sewing book - Make Nine 2018

In February, I made:

• A skirt for Bay Area Sewists Frocktails in February 2018. I meant to sew a sleeveless top to go with it but it required some fitting and I ran out of time. I made two mock-ups and then I just had to hem the skirt. I need to take photos of it but you can sort of see it here.

Skirt for Bay Area Sewists Frocktails in February

The fabric is a beautiful cotton print I got from Britex Fabrics several years ago. The print is a beautiful deep blue that looks like a water color. As I recall, it was quite pricey, even thought I got it sale; it was an imported cotton. It was a dream to sew and press. And it feels so lovely. For a fabric like this I decided to line this bias-cut skirt with Bemberg rayon. I’ll blog about it soon!

Here’s a panoramic group photo of the event. You can see more photos on the Bay Area Sewists meetup page or the Facebook album. I’m standing under the “K” of Frocktails. 😉

Bay Area Sewists Frocktails in February - group photo!

I also finished the Twist-and-Drape top from the Japanese sewing book Shape Shape by Natsuno Hiraiwa (out of print). This is essentially my muslin. I had a few yards of this semi-sheer cotton silk fabric, which was an online impulse buy. It’s been sitting in my stash forever.

The pattern called for a lightweight cotton so I decided to use it. However, it wasn’t easy to make bias tape from it, which is how most of the raw edges are finished. It was annoying but I persevered.

Here are some bathroom photos. I’ll take better photos soon!

Twist-and-Drape top from Japanese sewing book Drape Drape by Natsuno Hiraiwa - Make Nine 2018

It’s supposed to button but as you can see, it doesn’t overlap. I added an inch to the back but I’ll need to add more width to the front and side seams if I make it again. But I’m fine with wearing like a vest.

Here are some photos from the book showing how to put it on.

Twist-and-Drape top from Shape Shape by Natsuno Hiraiwa

If I make it again I’ll be using a very lightweight cotton that will be easier to sew and press.

I didn’t realize that I had completed four garments until I tallied them up for this post. I was starting to feel that I hadn’t done very much because I haven’t had time to do much sewing over the past two weeks. But now I feel better.

Did you pick a project for your Make Nine 2018 list? What are you working on now?

Jung Misun and Im Seonoc in Couture Korea and ticket giveaway!

Hi, I had to return to the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco to take a closer look at the work by Jung Misun and Im Seonoc in the exhibit Couture Korea, which opened last month. During my first visit, my phone ran out of power by the time I got to the room devoted to their work so I went back to take more photos. (You can read my first post here.)

Three rooms are devoted to this special exhibit, which the curator encourages you to view in chronological order, starting with the historical reconstructions of hanbok, traditional Korean clothing, and concluding with the work of Im and Jung.

The work featured in this room was a yearlong collaboration between each designer and the Arumjigi Culture Keepers Foundation. Im and Jung were challenged to reinterpret Korean historical fashion for life today. They both agreed that hanbok wasn’t very comfortable wear and they each chose fabrics that would be comfortable to wear.

Jung Misun

Jung Misun’s fashion line, Nohke, has been featured in Seoul Fashion Week. Here’s link to Vogue’s recent coverage of Jung’s 2018 Spring collection. (Note: Vogue spells her name Mi Sun Jung.) And here’s a link to a May 2017 Post Magazine interview with the 33-year-old designer.

As part of the Arumjigi collaboration, Jung designed this beautiful wool knit dress.

Jung Misun - wool blend knit dress - Couture Korea exhibit at Asian Art Museum

I love the details in the top. You can really see the elements of traditional Korean women’s clothing in the wrap around the bust (see my earlier post on this exhibit for examples). I think this design is best suited for a small bust.

Jung Misun - Couture Korea exhibit at Asian Art Museum

I like the layers and unique sleeve details in this dress by Jung Misun.

Jung Misum dress - Couture Korea exhibit at Asian Art Museum

The leather belt it attached to part of the top.

Jung Misun dress detail - Couture Korea exhibit at Asian Art Museum

This leather tie is a dramatic detail that echoes traditional garments.

Jung Misun - dress detail Couture Korea exhibit at Asian Art Museum

The delicate layer of organza is a nice contrast to the leather.

Jung Misun dress detail - Couture Korea exhibit at Asian Art Museum

These traditional women’s jackets are in the exhibit. The leather tie of Jung’s design is similar to the tie on these jackets.

Traditional Korean women's jackets - Couture Korea - Asian Art Museum

Im Seonoc

Founder of the PARTsPARTs fashion brand, Im Seonoc uses neoprene (scuba) in her designs, which you can see here, along with an interview and a YouTube video.

Im also used scuba fabric to create this jacket and skirt for the Arumjigi collabroation. (Please excuse the glare on the glass.)

Im Seonoc - Couture Korea exhibit at Asian Art Museum

This is a side view. The lines on this skirt are very interesting, aren’t they? I like that curving line.

Im Seonoc - scuba skirt detail - Couture Korea exhibit at Asian Art Museum

Take a look at Im’s reinterpretation of a man’s outer robe, also using scuba.

Im Seonok - Couture Korea exhibit at Asian Art Museum

You can see the lines of the traditional men’s robes in her design. Here’s a reconstruction of a garment from the late 1600s/early 1700s that’s in the exhibit.

Man's robe with slide slits - reconstruction of garment (late 1600s to early 1700s) - Couture Korea - Asian Art Museum

Be sure to take a good look at all the traditional garments before you get to this room. Then you can really appreciate each designers’ unique reinterpretation.

There are six garments in this room, three by each designer. I wish there was more of their work in the exhibit. Maybe they only made three garments for the collaboration with Arumjigi. Still I would have liked to see their other work as well.

I’ve highlighted four of their garments. You’ll need to see the exhibit to see the other two. And lucky for you, I have two tickets I’m giving away! To enter, just comment below that you’d like to see the exhibit. I’ll pick two winners at random next Tuesday, December 12! This exhibit is up through February 4, 2018.

Couture Korea exhibit at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco

Fall sewing patterns – Simplicity and Vogue

Fall sewing patterns - Vogue V9267, Simplicity 8452, New Look 6532, Simplicity vintage reissue 8462

Hi, I finally took some time to go through the new fall sewing patterns from the Big 4 – Butterick, McCalls, Simplicity and Vogue. I wondered if I would see anything I liked. Some patterns were not very interesting or were just things I wouldn’t wear. But I did see a few from each company that I would like to sew.

Here are a few highlights, in no particular order, from Simplicity and Vogue. I’ll get to fall patterns from Butterick and McCalls later this month. This post would have been way to long to do all four!

Simplicity fall sewing patterns

I like this interesting 1950s knit top pattern (8452) reissued by Simplicity this year. If you visit this page, be sure to click on the tab “Envelope Back,” which has what appears to be the original illustrated step-by-step instructions on how to put it on.

Fall sewing pattern - Simplicity 8452 - 1950s vintage reissue

Check out the front, which just tucks in the waist of whatever you’re wearing.

Fall sewing pattern - Simplicity 8452 - 1950s vintage reissue

Love the back! I only wonder if it will stayed tucked in the front. It’s super easy to make because it’s just a rectangle so I will definitely check it out.

Fall sewing pattern - Simplicity 8452 - 1950s vintage reissue

Apparently Simplicity will be celebrating its 90th anniversary next year. I also discovered that in honor of this event, they are selling various sewing-related goodies on their website, including a sewing planner and tote bags – all featuring vintage Simplicity images.

I’m assuming the anniversary is the reason why they are reissuing so many vintage patterns. There are patterns from the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s, such as this 1940s ensemble (8462).

Fall sewing pattern - Simplicity 8462 - 1940 vintage sewing pattern - envelope front

I rarely see vintage separates reissued. I would make this bolero jacket, blouse and skirt pattern! But I likely wouldn’t wear them all together unless I made the skirt and jacket in different colors. I’m not too thrilled by the fabric choices here.

I love vintage dresses and have made a few, which you can see here and here, but I realize that I don’t wear them very much. So I’ve decided to focus on garments that I know I’ll wear more than once or twice a year.

This Simplicity pattern seems influenced by sewing blogs, which is where I first heard people discussing pattern hacks. So here’s a skirt that was drafted to be hacked. I like the drape of this skirt as is so I may just buy it for the basic skirt.

Fall sewing pattern - Simplicity 8474 - skirt pattern hack

The only other new Simplicity-related pattern I’d like to make is this New Look pattern (6352), which are very reasonably priced – just $4.29 at full price!

Fall sewing pattern - New Look 6532 - separates

I really love the jacket. You could make it from a great home dec fabric.

Fall sewing pattern - New Look 6532 - jacket

The pants are nice, too. I like the subtle flare.

Fall sewing pattern - New Look 6532 - separates

Vogue fall sewing patterns

I’m sure many people have seen Kathryn Brenne’s stunning design for this knit dress. See the image at the top to see what that skirt looks like when it’s fully open. Amazing.

Fall sewing pattern - V9268 Kathryn Brenne dress

I saw on Kathryn’s Instagram account (@kathrynbrenneoriginal) that the pattern sold out once already. Wow. So I guess Vogue did another printing because it’s still available on the website. (Follow her IG to see her great style – such striking clothes and great accessories.)

One thing I realized when looking at the current crop of Vogue patterns is that many of them have several designs aimed at covering up certain parts of the body, such as the belly, hips and derriere. It makes me wonder about the age demographic of Vogue pattern buyers. 😉 [See comments below about why this sentence is struck out.]

Here’s a fall pattern by Sandra Betzina (V1515). It doesn’t look all that interesting on this model but I saw another version in person on Sandra when I attended Artistry in Fashion last month. She eliminated the elastic around the neckline and it looked much better.

Fall sewing pattern - Today's Fit - Sandra Betzina - V1515

Here’s the pattern cover. Sandra says she noticed in Japan that they have layered tops. She designed this one to be similar to what she saw there. It leaves a deliberate gap between the skirt and the hem of the top. Sandra says this helps to hide the waist.

Fall sewing pattern - Today's Fit by Sandra Betzina, V1515

Sorry I didn’t take any photos of her wearing the version she made. But it was flattering and I think this would be a fun layering piece to have in my wardrobe.

Sandra wore a version of this dress (V1551) to Artistry in Fashion, too. It doesn’t look very exciting here, perhaps because of the fabric choices but I can tell you that it looked more interesting on Sandra. The bottom half reminds me of Kathryn Brenne’s dress.

Fall sewing pattern - Todays Fit by Sandra Betzina - V1552

The important thing when making this dress is to use a fabric that drapes nicely. Otherwise the sides will stick out, which would be unflattering.

OK, I know I said I was going to highlight patterns I would make, but this custom-fit Vogue dress (V9267) is so pretty, I couldn’t resist adding it to this post. Also, it has separate pieces for different cup sizes (A through D) and there are two skirt options, this flared one and a fitted version.

Fall sewing pattern - Vogue V9267 - dress with custom fitting options for bust

What are you making this fall?

Summer sewing plans

It’s August already and I still have some summer sewing to do. Luckily, it does stay warm in the Bay Area through September, and sometimes October. I’ve been going over my initial sewing plans for the year (see my Make Nine post) and going through my patterns and my fabric to see what I can make. I don’t have a huge stash but I don’t want to buy more fabric until I’ve sewn some of it up or destashed. Now I’m selling a few pieces of my fabric, which you can read about here.

Here’s what’s currently in progress.

Textile Studio Patterns - elastic-waist skirt

I used two fabrics to make Version B (lower right), a four-paneled skirt. The fabric on the right is a rayon remnant from Britex Fabrics. I didn’t have enough for the entires skirt but I did have this leftover solid violet rayon and I had just enough for one panel. So three panels use the print and one is violet.

It was my first time making an elastic-waist skirt. I still need to hem it. I’ve had it hanging in the closet to give the hem a chance to settle. Though the pattern says that because of the bias seams, the hem will hang “irregularly” and that is “unavoidable and part of the charm of the skirt.” The skirt panels are shaped like tall isoceles trapezoids. (Wow, never thought I’d use those two words in a sentence. Oh, grade-school geometry!)

Style Arc Imogen Skirt - CSews

I’ve cut the top part of the Imogen Knit Skirt by Style Arc – using this leftover striped knit fabric in my stash. I’ll use solid black for the rest of the skirt. I’ve been going through my stash looking for a big piece of black knit fabric. The pieces I’ve found so far aren’t long enough. This looks like a super easy skirt to put together. I got the patterns as a birthday present from one of my sisters earlier this year.

The Fabric Stash

I used to be a fabric impulse buyer. I’d see something I liked and buy it, particularly if it was on sale. I didn’t necessarily know what I would make but I’d buy a few yards and tell myself I’d use it for something. Or maybe I’d buy it with a particular pattern in mind but most of my impulse buys were just that, an impulse.

Now I ask myself, what would you make with this fabric? If I can’t answer that question, I don’t buy it, even if it’s on sale.

I’d like to make something summery from these fabrics in my stash.

Cotton fabrics - blue - CSews

The floral print and the plaid are both from Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley. I have about 3 2/3 yards of the floral print, which is likely a cotton/silk blend, which I got for $3.50/yard earlier this year. I’m thinking tunic or flowing skirt. It’s very lightweight.

The plaid print was a 7/8 yard remnant, which I envisioned as part of a Deer & Doe Chardon skirt with a contrasting solid blue band. (I’ve made many Chardon skirts, including a maxi and a midi.)

The seersucker fabric is something I got more than a year ago at the Bay Area Sewists fabric swap. It’s nearly 2 yards. The print is really cute – maybe that’s why I haven’t sewn it yet. It’s got a travel theme. See the suitcase, hats and umbrella? Maybe I’ll make a tunic.

Seersucket print - travel theme - CSews

Meanwhile, I rediscovered this pretty red floral print in my stash. A sundress would be nice but I likely wouldn’t wear it very much. So I’m thinking separates – this 1960 Vogue reissue V9187 and another Chardon skirt. I have 5 yards of this fabric. I think it must have been a pre-cut piece I got several years ago from an Oakland drug store that’s no longer around.

V9187 Vogue reissued 1960 sewing pattern and Chardon skirt by Deer & Doe - CSews

Other patterns I want to make include this New Look 6838 pattern…

New Look 6939

…and Butterick 5893. I need more pants!

Butterick 5893 - pants sewing pattern

The Butterick pattern was on my Make Nine list.

What’s in your summer sewing queue?

div style=”display: none;”>Summer sewing - CSews

Outside pocket for a skirt

Last month I made an A-line linen skirt and attached an outside pocket to the waistband. I mentioned that I was going to show how I made the pocket. I wanted to add a pop of color to the skirt, which was a solid muted blue. I had this fun Echino print, which I got from Superbuzzy in Ventura at Craftcation last year (see my post).

Linen skirt with outside pocket detail - self-drafted A-line skirt - CSews.com

I figured it out as I went along, starting out with a wide square. I knew I was going to add pleats to the pocket so that when I put something in it, there wouldn’t be an obvious bulge. I guess you could call it “pocket ease” – heheh.

I knew I wanted the back pocket piece to be longer than the Echino fabric because the back piece would attach to the waistband. I didn’t want to use my skirt fabric for the entire back pocket piece because linen isn’t that sturdy. So I decided to use a black poly/cotton blend and then sew a piece of the linen fabric just at the top of the back pocket piece.

I didn’t take photos of every step but I’ve written all the steps. Hopefully, it make sense.

Pocket Fabric - Echino fabric

I started out with a wide square – about 11 inches x 10 inches

 

Outside pocket tutorial - Pocket folded - Echino Fabric - CSews.com

I made two pleats and pinned them in place.

 

Tutorial - fold pocket in half to use as pattern piece to cut back side of pocket - CSews.com

Fold the front pleated pocket piece in half to use as a pattern for the back pocket piece but make it a couple of inches taller than the front piece. Cut the back pattern piece. I used a black cotton/poly fabric I got at a Bay Area Sewists fabric swap.

 

Tutorial - outside pocket - Echino fabric - CSews.com
Finish the top edge. I used some pre-made bias tape in my stash.

 

Tutorial - Fashion fabric for top of pocket

For the “tab,” the piece that attaches to the waistband:

  • cut a piece of the skirt linen fabric
  • fuse a piece of interfacing to it (I used black interfacing)
  • finish one long horizontal edge
  • attach the linen fabric to the top of the back pocket piece by placing the skirt fabric right side facing the pocket back. Don’t sew all the way to the bottom.  Trim the seam. I pinked mine.

 

Tutorial - Top of outside pocket - CSews.com

Turn the fabric inside out. Press the fabric. This will be attached to the waistband and the sides of the “tab” above the pocket need to be finished.

Place the front pocket piece, right side facing the back piece. This is why I didn’t sew all the way down the sides. I need a seam allowance to attach the front pocket piece. The front piece overlaps the linen fabric at the top. Sew the front and back together along the sides and bottom. Turn inside out.

 

Outside pocket lined up with waist

On this skirt, the waistband curves slightly. To ensure that the pocket is straight, place the pocket on top of the skirt and trim the excess at the top. See how the top right side is higher than the waist?

After I attached the pocket, I decided it was too long. So I trimmed an inch and sewed the bottom again.

Finished pocket - CSews.com

And finally, the pocket was done!

If I were to make an outside pocket again, I think I would make it a little less complicated by using one fabric for the entire back piece. Then I would sew the front, turn it inside out and finish the raw edges of the “tab” (the part of the back that attaches to the waistband) by making a narrow hem. This would avoid the slight wrinkles just above the top corners of the front pattern piece.

I like an outside pocket because it doesn’t ruin the line of this A-line skirt.  An in-seam side pocket wouldn’t look very good. You could see anything you put in the pocket and it would weigh down the skirt.

Making an outside pocket for a skirt, attaching it to the waistband - CSews.com

 

Self-drafted A-line skirt with an outside pocket

Hi, I wanted to make a quick skirt so I decided to use the pattern I created for a skirt lining. I made the lining pattern in 2011 for my A-line block skirt from the Japanese sewing book Basic Black (affiliate link here). The skirt has three main pieces – the front, back and the narrow waistband is made from a strip of bias tape that’s 1 5/8″ wide (about 4 cm). There’s an invisible zipper on the side. I’m wearing a knit cloche hat I got at a Barney’s outlet several years ago.

Linen skirt with outside pocket detail - self-drafted A-line skirt - CSews.com

Because the skirt is quite plain, I added an outside pocket as a design detail. I used this fun Echino fabric I got last year when I attended Craftcation. Years ago I saw a pockets attached to the waistband on a paid of pants worn by a woman walking down the street. Of course, I stopped her and asked to look at the pockets. She told me she got the pants in Thailand. I never forgot those pants.

Linen skirt with external pocket - CSews.com

Pockets at the side seams wouldn’t really work in an A-line skirt like this because as soon as you put something in the pocket, it would drag down the skirt or ruin the line of the skirt, especially in a drapey fabric like linen.

The side seam has moved forward a little bit in this photo but you can see that a pocket there likely wouldn’t look very good. I’m wearing the lace hat I made (blogged here), Vogue pattern V8891, a Patricia Underwood design.

Linen skirt with outside pocket -CSews.com

I just used the measurements in the book Basic Black, to make the waistband. I used the same fabric of the skirt to make the waistband. I made the mistake of using this stretch interfacing for the waistband. Fabric cut on the bias stretches so the waistband may get a little stretched out.

Bias waistband

Before I attached the waistband, I basted the pocket in place. (I’ll write a separate post about making the pocket.) Then I sewed the waistband in place, folded it in half and stitched in the ditch. Here’s a close-up of the waistband…

Narrow bias waistNarrow bias waistband - stitched in the ditch - CSews.comband - stitched in the ditch

… and the invisible zipper at the side seam. I wasn’t so great at keeping the waistband the same width all the way around. But I didn’t want to rip it out. No one’s really going to see the waistband anyway. (Excuse the dark photos.)

Invisible zipper installed in side seam

I finished the hem with premade bias tape using a straight stitch. I ran out of blue so I just attached red to finish it.

Bias tape hem finish - CSews.com

And here are a few more views of the skirt.

Linen skirt with outside pocket detail - self-drafted A-line skirt - back view - CSews.com

I think I like the lace hat with this skirt better than the cloche. What do you think?

Linen skirt with outside pocket detail - self-drafted A-line skirt - CSews.com

The top is RTW from Ann Taylor several years ago.  My necklace was a birthday gift from one of my sisters.

Materials for A-line Skirt

  • 2 yards of linen from my stash (can’t recall what I paid for it)
  • 10″ x 11 ” piece of Echino fabric for the pocket (about $20/yard, I bought 1/2 yard)
  • bias tape in my stash to finish hem
  • Guttmacher thread
  • 70/10 Schmetz needle
Linen skirt with outside pocket detail in Echino fabric - self-drafted A-line skirt - CSews.com

Sewing at the Google Garage with Bay Area Sewists

Hi, last weekend the Bay Area Sewists meetup group had a Sew Together meetup at the Google Garage – the volunteer-run maker space at the tech giant’s Mountain View location in Silicon Valley. I’m the organizer for the meetup group and Ali, one of our members who works at Google, graciously reserved the space, making it possible for us to meet there. Thank you, Ali!

Here are some of the photos I took from that visit, along with one photo taken by Marilyn, another Bay Area Sewists member, which I’ll identify.

This is some of the fun stuff on the wall just outside the Google Garage – car parts that have been painted in Google colors. You can sort of see that Google is spelled out. The first “G” is made from tires and the two O’s from hub caps.

Google Garage - sign outside the maker space

The Google Garage has high ceilings and has plenty of tables to work. Not surprisingly, there are many computer monitors and a few 3-D printers. We made use of all the tables.

Google Garage - Bay Area Sewists in Googles maker space

In addition to the tables with the wood tops, there were taller white tables – in the foreground of the photo below. These tables had stools for sitting.

Google Garage - maker space tables

In the back of the space is this area with a few sewing machines and sergers. There were also many other sewing machines in a locked cabinet. The Google artwork on this wall is actually a photo of tools spelling out Google.

Sewing machines and sergers at Google Garage maker space

Here’s a spray-painted sign inside the maker space. As you might be able to tell, it’s the hood of a car.

Google Garage sign in the maker space in Mountain View

I brought a couple of things to work on at the Google Garage – fitting the back of my Flint pants (they were a little baggy in the back) and cutting an A-line skirt from a pattern I drafted when I made the lining for this skirt. I shared this table with Shontai, who was cutting out a PDF pattern.

Google Garage - sewing project

We were also fortunate to have several giveaways from Fabrix in San Francisco, courtesy of Bay Area Sewists member Annetta who works at Fabrix. She brought many two-yard cuts for us, which you can see in the photo below. Here she is telling us about the store, which carries discounted designer fabrics. She says you’ll find a lot of stuff priced at $2.89 or $3.99 a yard – and there’s even a $0.99 table.

Annetta from Fabrix - showing the range of fabrics and trims available there

I have not been to this store yet, mostly because it’s a long trip via public transportation. Now I really want to check it out. At those prices, you could get quite a lot of fabric for $20.

Towards the end of our Google Garage meetup, we had a raffle and four winners got to have first pick of the fabrics, with the first winner choosing four fabrics, the next three, and then two and then one. Annetta also had various coupons for yardage and notions at Fabrics.

Ali won first pick. Here she is choosing her fabrics. After the winners made their picks, all the other fabrics were up for grabs. See the fabric with the circle design? I got that quilt-weight fabric. I think it could be a fun summer skirt.

Fabric from Fabrix in San Francisco

Here’s a close up of some of the fabrics.

Fabric from Fabrix in San Francisco

These are all trims and collars from Annetta’s collection, which she got at Fabrix. She brought them to show the range of trims there.

Trims from Fabrix in San Francisco

Here’s the photo Marilyn took of me introducing Annetta. I’m in the center of the photo in front of the wood wall. To the right of the wood wall is the entrance to the sewing area with machines and sergers.

Google Garage - sewing machines and sergers available for employees

And here’s the group photo. We had a great time at the Google Garage!

Sew Together at Google Garage in Mountain View

If you live in the Bay Area and would like to join the group, visit the meetup page here to see past and upcoming monthly meetups.  We have fabric and pattern swaps as well as fitting meetups. It’s free to join for the first 90 days. We typically meet in Berkeley, San Francisco, and occasionally in the South Bay.

Do you participate in any sewing meetups? What do you usually do at your meetups?

Bay Area Sewists - Sew Together meetup at the Google Garage in Mountain View

Me Made May – a wardrobe shift

Hi! If you’re participating in this year’s Me Made May, perhaps you’ve been wearing a handmade outfit everyday. Organized by Zoe of So Zo What do You Know? – she describes Me Made May as “a challenge designed to encourage people who sew/knit/crochet/refashion/upcycle garments for themselves to wear and love them more.” (emphasis hers) You can read more about it on Zoe’s blog here. I’ve participated in Me Made May officially and unofficially from 2013 to 2015.

It was easy to participate in Me Made May when I worked in an office because most of what I made was for work – skirts and dresses. I also coerced co-workers to take photos of what I was wearing. Now that I’m working at home, there are only a few me made garments that I’ve been wearing. I really don’t feel like wearing a nice dress when I’m working at home. But whenever I have any meetings off-site, I usually wear something that I wore when I went to an office.

This year I decided to unofficially participate in Me Made May but not document what I was wearing every day because I’m not wearing me mades everyday. We’re more than halfway through May so I thought it would be a good time to pause and look at what I’ve been wearing so far.

Today I’m wearing my reversible Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater, which I made in February and blogged here. I usually wear it with the red side out. I wear black a lot and red is one of my favorite colors. This is a photo I took when I finished it.

Reversible Toaster Sweater - Sew House Seven sewing pattern

I’ve worn this black skirt numerous times. It’s become my go-to skirt. The pattern is the A-line Block Skirt from the Japanese sewing book Basic Black (affiliate link here, blogged here).  I wore it with the Toaster Sweater when I took these photos for my blog post. The skirt has 16 panels – 8 for the front and 8 for the back. You can’t see the panels in this photo but they are there.

Basic Black A-line Block Skirt - pattern from Basic Black Japanese sewing book - Tuttle Publishing

This skirts goes with many different tops. Here’s the photo I took when it was finished in 2015. The skirt has an invisible zipper on the side.

Basic Black A-line block skirt

I’ve also worn my Pilvi Coat and Mimosa Culottes a few times this month. I made them this year and I really like them both. The Pilvi Coat is from the book Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style (affiliate link here, blogged here).

Pilvi Coat from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style sewing book - using fabric with ASCII art

I’ve worn my Pilvia Coat with my Mimosa Culottes but I don’t have any photos of me wearing them together so you’ll just have to imagine it. The Mimosa Culottes (blogged here) are by Named Clothing. I made the removable hat ribbon on the hat, too.

Mimosa Culottes - sewing pattern by Named Clothing - high-waisted, wide-legged design - CSews.com

I’ve also worn hats that I’ve made this month – newsboy caps I made from patterns I drafted – and the hat with the removable hat ribbon I made (see my tutorial here).

These garments are the main me made things I’ve worn during Me Made May. Clearly, I need more casual clothes to wear at home. I am working on the Flint Pants by Megan Nielsen. I made a mock-up and I need to fix the waistband. It gapes at the top so I need to make a curved version waistband, an issue sewing blogger Sew Busy Lizzy had when she made her Flint pants. I need more casual pants and skirts.

Me Made May is a good time to take stock of your wardrobe and see what’s missing, what you wear most often and adjust your sewing plans for the rest of the year.

Are you participating in Me Made May? What have you learned about your wardrobe?

Me Made May - Toaster Sweater (Sew House Seven sewing pattern), Mimosa Culottes (Named Clothing sewing pattern) - CSews.com